Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

Yay, blogger decided to actually cooperated for me today! Finally.

Now...let's talk about pot roast and mashed potatoes (emphasis on the last part!). This past Sunday I took another stab at not one, but two more Pioneer Woman recipes (sited above). Antoine and I love pot roast, I mean who doesn't really!? But generally we make ours in the crockpot...it's easy and delicious. So right off the bat Antoine was skeptical about this pioneer lady's pot roast made in the oven...in a pot...it's maddness! But I couldn't resist trying it. Can you blame me?!? Look at that deliciousness....

Mmm, meaty goodness!

I followed PW's suggestion and decided to make mashed potatoes to go with it. Antoine was also perplexed by this since he's always had potatoes cooked in with a pot roast (along with carrots and onions). PW advocates that you not include potatoes in your pot roast as they tend to break down, lose their flavor and get "mealy". PW's mashed potatoes where very similar to mine, which a couple exceptions. I tend to add rosemary and garlic to my potatoes, generally infusing the flavors into some melted butter in a small saucepan. I simmer the rosemary, garlic (I cheat and use the minced jar stuff), and butter over a medium to med-low heat until the garlic slightly browns (but make sure not to let the butter brown/burn). Also, PW adds cream cheese to her mashed potatoes, which I found interesting and this addition was the key motivation for me to try her recipe. [She also puts her mashed taters in a casserole dish and then bakes them in the oven, I decided not to do this]. Result? BEST MASHED POTATOES I'VE EVER HAD!! Seriously, they were amazing. I left the skin on some small yellow potatoes, did my little rosemary/garlic trick, added some more butter, salt, pepper, non-fat milk and a 8oz package of cream cheese and I was in heaven!! Antoine and I actually stood next to the stove and just kept eating spoonfuls directly out of the pot while we were waiting on the roast to finish. They were so deliciously creamy and thick that Antoine requested that I only ever make THESE mashed potatoes in the future! I think that's a good sign.

Now back to the roast. It was a pretty straightforward recipe, not near as aggravating as the chicken piccata that I previously posted about.

Mmm, I do love me some carrots! I thought the carrots in this recipe turned out especially well. They were super sweet and the perfect consistency.

I ended up using an English roast (or cross rib roast) because that's what we had. I suspect that using a larger chuck roast (as PW did) would yield better results. The English roast has a lot of bone and not as much meat as a chuck roast, so I wouldn't suggest it for a pot roast.

Look at those beautiful carrots all shiny from being lightly browned in some olive oil.

I also didn't have a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme, but I have an abundance of dried herbs so that's what I used. I can see where sprigs of herbs might be ideal for this recipe. I was worried that with the dried rosemary/thyme I'd find chunks of herbs in my teeth while eating the pot roast, but the 3+ hours the roast spent in the oven subdued and soften the herbs, blending them nicely into the broth.

Verdict: Delicious (and as with the chicken piccata, even better the next day)! The pot roast was yummy, not the best I've ever had...but good. The carrots were definitely the star of the pot roast for me. I found the onions to be a little too soft, they were on the verge of dissolving. Antoine and I decided that in the future, we'll continue to make our pot roast in the crock pot (old school style with a packet of french onion soup mix), but we'll exclude potatoes from the pot roast and make mashed instead. Speaking of the mashed potatoes...out of this world! Thank you Pioneer Woman...the cream cheese was genius! I wanted to crawl inside the pot and live there. Weird, I know! But you'd understand if you made them, which I highly suggest you do!

My money shot isn't as awesome as PW's (due to my lack of fancy camera skills) but it was still a pretty successful dinner!

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